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Save Money on Rentals With RFID

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Douglas Alexander
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Re: How did the polling of tags work exactly
Douglas Alexander   6/30/2013 3:26:43 AM
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@Cryptoman...accelerometer...hmmmm very insightful. Equipment stacked on its side would most likely be in storage. I never thought of that. Thank you.

elctrnx_lyf
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Tracking
elctrnx_lyf   6/10/2013 8:30:18 AM
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Tracking the movment of equipments inside any RnD organization is a must these days to make sure all the equipments are used if they are rented, all are caliberated in time to make sure the all the maasurements are accurate. The advanced technologies such as zigbee could definitely help to solve this.

Douglas Alexander
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Re: How did the polling of tags work exactly
Douglas Alexander   6/7/2013 8:46:34 PM
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@Mr. Roques...we had 2 million left of the 3 we started the company with. We were budgeted 1 million for 1 year of R&D and the remaining 2 was reserved for Marketing and Whiz Bang Dog and Pony shows to get our product visible to the big boys. We had just 39 people in the company when we were site surveyed and approved by AT&T who bought our first T1 23GHz microwave hops. 1 year later, Ronald Regan had one installed at his ranch, and 6 months after that we sold a bunch to the White House where all the communications equipment followed the President of the US on Air Force 2. It was a good strategy to hold back 2/3 of our venture money for Marketing. Our subsequent funding came from our IPO just a few short years later.

Mr. Roques
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Re: How did the polling of tags work exactly
Mr. Roques   6/7/2013 5:03:03 PM
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Very interesting case study. Who would have imagined that with such a tight budget, 10% of it would be unaccounted for? 

Its a good solution for just about anything that needs to be kept track of? What is a normal cost for a RFID system? (basically the reader and a set of tags) 

Douglas Alexander
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Re: How did the polling of tags work exactly
Douglas Alexander   6/7/2013 10:55:46 AM
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@Cryptoman...those were my thoughts too. When the tags are reprogrammable, then the cost virtually is amortized away over time. I haven't read where RFID is being marketed for this specific application, but someone could wordsmith a brochure and sell systems as an aftermarket opportunity. Every major R&D company has some percentage of their equipment on a rotational basis via rentals.

Cryptoman
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Re: How did the polling of tags work exactly
Cryptoman   6/7/2013 5:51:12 AM
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@Douglas

Thank you for this useful link. Looking at the price of the ZigBee tags, they are totally affordable and can be used fro tracking assets of low value as well. The SDK is a one off cost so the $650 price tag is not a showstopper especially if this tracking network will have many assets to track.

Regards...

Cryptoman
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Re: How did the polling of tags work exactly
Cryptoman   6/7/2013 5:46:40 AM
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Hi Douglas.

Thank you for your thorough response.

I presume each asset you want to track will have a ZigBee transceiver (?).

For typical assets of low cost, attaching a ZigBee transceiver to each would be a luxurious solution. However, for many high value items such as a $15K+ testing equipment, this could be a viable solution. If ZigBee transceivers are to be used in this network, you would not need RFID at all. Each ZigBee device will have a unique MAC address you can use to uniquely identify each asset.

With a ZigBee/Internet gateway that allows you to query each ZigBee node within your domain of operation. That way you can track each asset effectively. Each Zigbee node can create events and alarms to inform the database about the time of calibration, maintenance and rental dues.

Another interesting application could be to report the physical position of the asset that is tracked if the ZigBee node is equipped with an accelerometer. Most such platforms come with built in accelerometers these days. This feature would allow the node to detect that the equipment rests on its side or in any other angle at which it cannot be used. If this odd positioning does not change for a long time then one can infer that the equipment may be returned as it is no longer needed. That way the user of the equipment does not need to be asked whether the asset is needed or not.

Regards...

 

Douglas Alexander
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Re: How did the polling of tags work exactly
Douglas Alexander   6/6/2013 9:29:21 PM
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@Cryptoman...Here is a link to a company that sells the ZigBee readers and tags for asset management. The also sell the SDK for writing your own programs. http://www.abrfid.com/Solutions/RTLS/Value-ZigBee

Douglas Alexander
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Re: How did the polling of tags work exactly
Douglas Alexander   6/6/2013 9:18:05 PM
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@Cryptoman...This was early on in RFID so a walk around reader was all that was available. If I was going to implement a new lab today, I would use ZigBee wireless associated with the transmitter and reader. The ZigBee tag with the radio is about the size of a quarter and good for longer distances with about a 2 year battery life. The radio in a mesh network is easy to identify as each tag will have its own IP. I would then port the data to the internet and with a supplied API, write and update a DB automatically. The DB would flag for calibration and rental due dates with flags and alerts for overdue dates. The design of the hardware system can be ported to any asset tracking, rental or not. Laptops, Desktops, CAD systems etc. Once the asset is logged into the DB with the owner's name and phone number associated thereto, any queries can be expedited and actions confirmed with a notes field with follow-up flags that could port in-turn to an auto-email notification or reminder. Design this network abd it will pay for itself as I am sure you will find other useful items/assets to track. One thing I would like to see implemented is the tracking on equipment that is borrowed" from R&D by manufacturing. THis is particularly true if the factory is offsite like a contract manufacturer or outside test lab.

Cryptoman
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How did the polling of tags work exactly
Cryptoman   6/6/2013 7:23:23 PM
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@Douglas

Your case study is an interesting example of RFID use. Could you tell a bit more about the process of how the polling worked?

How were the readers placed? Did somebody go around with an HF reader to read all the tags? How were the owners of the equipment notified? If you could walk me through this process, I will get a better understanding of the efficiency of the system you are talking about.

Regards...

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